Again and again, shocking incidents of sexual attacks are getting reported from Pune’s Information Technology (IT) hubs. Sometimes in the premises of companies and sometimes out on the roads in the nearby areas of the IT parks. Right in the cultural capital of Maharashtra, women seem to be feeling very insecure, but it’s not just women. Vehicle owners who park their vehicles outside their housing societies and find a fire attack taking place in the middle of the night, road rage victims who suddenly get brutally beaten up, students who are assaulted because they are from north-east or foreign country. The general level of sense of insecurity is majorly rising in Pune and other parts of Maharashtra.
The latest incident reported close to an IT hub where a woman literally got kidnapped and assaulted by four men is a big shocker. It only shows that the fear of law enforcement is completely missing. Whether the police are able to nab the culprits quickly is another question but the sheer feeling that “nothing will happen to me even if I attack a woman” prevails in the fringe areas of Pune city where the law enforcement machinery is not able to perhaps reach effectively.
How would women counter these repeated attacks if there is very low probability of the right culprits being nabbed, case getting solved in reasonable time and then harsh punishment being meted out to the convicts?
And it’s not just the women who are vulnerable in Maharashtra’s cities. Two incidents of highway robbery were reported last fortnight - where in one incident, a vehicle plying on Mumbai-Pune Expressway was stopped and the travellers were looted. Just a couple of days ago, a horrific video of a goon being killed by a rival gang with swords in northern Maharashtra’s Dhule went viral on social media. On Friday, the supporters of the goon who was killed attacked state public transport buses with fireballs and stones putting the security of innocent and unconcerned citizens travelling in those buses under threat.
In Pune city itself, the series of attacks against women, road rage incidents and fire attacks on vehicles parked outside housing societies go on unabated. Again the inference is that the culprits are fast losing any fear of law and have a strong conviction that nothing will happen to them. Incidents of underage persons driving two-wheelers on the wrong side of the road and then even hitting traffic cops who try to stop them have been reported.
It’s a known fact that the police force in most cities of Maharashtra is under a lot of stress because of enough staff not being available or other resources not being in place. They have a long case to plead about various problems that they face including political interference and other factors.
However, at some point, should the citizens not start asking questions about why and how so much sense of insecurity is rising in Maharashtra and when will some stringent action be taken and strict law enforcement can be seen happening on the ground?